Jean remembers her father's role in constructing Manchester Central Library

Jean holding an image of Manchester Central Library and a photograph of her dad, Leonard Sankey

Jean holding an image of Manchester Central Library and a photograph of her dad, Leonard Sankey

First published in News by

THE reopening of the refurbished Manchester Central Library at a cost of £48m on March 22, brought back memories of her father to 74-year-old Jean Jones from Sale.

She said: “My father, Leonard Sankey, worked for a firm of structural engineers in Trafford Park. He was one of a team responsible for its construction for four years, from 1930 – 1934.

“He started as a draughtsman and qualified as a structural engineer.”

Leonard’s job was integral to the building’s success. It was built of steel and Portland stone and he helped to design the steel work.

“He was very proud of his part in it, because it was an iconic building. It was very modern for its time,” said Jean.

Jean was born after the building’s completion. However, her father, who then lived in Brookfield Drive, Timperley, often spoke of attending the laying of the foundation stone by the then Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, on 6th May 1930 and the opening ceremony by King George V on 17th July 1934.

“Dad didn’t use the library much but he did take me to the Library Theatre to see the Christmas play every New Year’s Eve.

“I can remember going to see Great Expectations when I was about eight. I was petrified,” she said.

Jean plans to visit the new library soon. She hopes to research her family history there, a task she has been doing for more than 30 years.

“The original building only cost £413,000, ” she said.

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